Herb John's Presentation at the OHC hearings
Thursday, May 4

Good evening,
My name is Herb John. I am an elected representative of
two Retirees organizations - C.A.W.Local 200 Retired Ford
Workers Chapter Chairperson and Vice Chairperson of the C.A.W.
Area Council which includes Retired Workers Chapters in Kent and
Essex Counties. I am also an S.O.S. member.
I would first like to sincerely thank the Ontario Health
Coalition for organizing this province wide campaign. The
government needs a clear message about what we expect from
our elected representatives and from our health care system.
To date the government has not made provisions for direct
public input such as this. Providing for input through the filter of
administrative groups such as the L.H.I.N.S. is obviously not
I would like to tell a couple personal stories and then make
some comments about our health care system.
My mother-in-law was born, lived her life and raised her
family on Walpole Island. During her later years she had health
issues related to her heart. During her last months she required
occasional hospitalization to stabilize these conditions. She was
on the second floor of S.D.H. for one of these occasions just
prior to the med beds closing.
She was dismissed from hospital on Friday July 24th. The
Med beds on the second floor were closed on Monday - July 27th.
On the 27th she had an appointment with her family doctor in
Wallaceburg and he determined very quickly that she required
hospitalization and called S.D.H. He was told there were no beds
available and we should drive her to Chatham. He told them he
was her physician and demanded that she be admitted. He was
told that was not possible. He also could not admit her to
Chatham Campus because he did not have hospital privileges
there.We were obviously upset by this and explained that we
were barely able to get her to Wallaceburg and she was
exhausted. Going to Chatham would have required much more
energy than she had. He called S.D.H. back and said that she
would be arriving there in an ambulance so they would have to
admit her. She was admitted and was in the Emergency
department until she was transported to Chatham later that day.
While she was in Chatham this family doctor who had treated her
for over 30 years could not see or treat her because he had no
hospital privileges in Chatham. Many of her family and friends
could not visit her at all because of transportation issues and
certainly not as frequently as when she was in S.D.H. While she
was in Chatham we were never able to talk to a doctor about her
condition. The communication and amount of information was
unbelievably different. She was released from Chatham after
about a week and passed away-August 15th.
We believe the results could have been much better for her
and her family and friends had the med beds remained at S.D.H.
Yesterday a member of my family called and said she was
upset and did not know what to do. She had 13 lymph nodes
removed in January of last year because of a diagnosis of breast
cancer. A week later she saw her doctor and was told that there
was no cancer in the removed lymph nodes or the removed lump.
At that time she believed it was a miracle because all her friends
at church were praying for her. A team of doctors reviewed her
case at the Windsor Regional Cancer Center and determined that
she did not require chemotherapy because there was no cancer.
Shortly after her doctor told her the good news she developed
lymphedema. It took 6 months to get a physiotherapy started.
She certainly did not need this additional challenge in her life.
This doctor has been allowed to interpret pathology reports and
perform surgical procedures in Windsor, apparently without
scrutiny since August of 2001 when she performed an
unnecessary mastectomy which was settled with a lawsuit of
$600,000 plus. The hospital is just now beginning an
investigation and admitted that there are currently 7 serious
Why do these things happen? It may seem obvious that
health care professionals need to be the foundation of our health
care system but that is not what appears to be. Corporate
lobbyists, administrators, accountants, lawyers and politicians all
seem to have louder voices than doctors, nurses and other front
line health care professionals. Imagine the bookkeeper telling the
auto mechanic how to do his job, imagine the janitor telling the
bank manager how to do her job. If the government really wants
to maintain and improve our health care system they should
listen to the people that are on the front line and stop wasting
time and money listening to people with private for profit
motives."There is compelling evidence that Canadians across all
demographics would prefer a public over a for-profit health-care
system," Nik Nanos of Nanos Research said of a poll,
commissioned by the Canadian Healthcare Coalition.This was the
conclusion of the 2009 poll of Canadians where 86.2% supported
or strongly supported "public solutions to make our public health
care stronger."
When we look at expenditures we see that in Ontario the
total dollars spent on health care per capita are in the same ball
park as the other provinces. However the amount spent on
hospitals is the lowest in the country. Where are they spending
the money they are saving on hospitals? How much do they
spend on 14 L.H.I.N.’s, on numerous consultants and on totally
inept endeavors such as E-Health. The focus is in the wrong
place. Focus on having the best health care system in the world
and listen to front line expertise to address all the issues
involved. This is a business model which has proven to be a key
to success in many corporations. Thank-You.